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Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
#1
Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
(First off, I'm saying nihilistic, but I don't know what it's really called.  Whatever it is I am.  Materialism is another one that seems to hit a lot of the notes)


I know the moral argument is a big one for Theists in attempting to expose inconsistencies in many Atheist belief systems.

But what do you have for the the Atheists who don't believe in meaning, or morals, or even free will.  I know during my time as a Catholic, I always tried to present the alternative to an existence of God as, rationally, a very undesirable reality.  The obvious flaw, which surprisingly went unchallenged (although Atheism hadn't caught on yet), was that being undesirable has no bearing on something being true or not.  So while I dumped God due to my perceiving it as goofy, I stuck by my guns so to speak, and more or less ended up where I said I should rationally end up.

So for those of us who skipped over humanism and went straight to believing it's all just a big evolutionary hoax, do you have arguments for those people that poke holes in their rationality?

(I'd be interested in non-theists take on poor reasoning as well)
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#2
RE: Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
In my opinion, atheism is a bottom-up philosophy as opposed to a top-down one.  The fact that where I am sitting on the Earth right now, spending my days & nights going around in a circle at approximately 750 mph is not something that was intuitively obvious to people for millennia on end.  After all, who would have thought of something like that?  And, yet, you can fit into a typical high school gym the number of individuals who would vehemently deny such a proposition and who would be willing to make a public stand for their ideas.  Ditto for consciousness, free will, "something from nothing," etc., not being "top down" conclusions but "button up" ones, having been formulated by decades of scientific evidence and thought.  I have spent my whole life of nearly 50 years open to the existence of god, and yet, god does not speak to me at all, and yet, theists would have me believe that I will encounter him/her/it once I am dead, as if death is an "experience" which, finally, brings one into a direct encounter with the divine.  However, with the range of "after death" possibilities (with annihilation being the most likely one), I don't see why I should favor one alternative (say, heaven/hell) over another (say, reincarnation) over yet another, ad infinitum.

Life has meaning and purpose because we choose to give it meaning and purpose, and, why not?  The alternatives are utter chaos; if I see a human or non-human animal suffering, I do whatever I can to help that individual.  I don't like to suffer and I don't like seeing others suffer as well, which is why we, as an organized society, mandate that 911 operators be prepared to work nights, weekends and holidays.  I don't see any reason to appeal to some sort of "high power" to justify my dislike of suffering; on the other hand, there are folks who like suffering, either themselves or watching it being inflicted on others or even inflicting such suffering themselves; we refer to such individuals as being psychos.
And without delay Peter went quickly out of the synagogue (assembly) and went unto the house of Marcellus, where Simon lodged: and much people followed him...And Peter turned unto the people that followed him and said: Ye shall now see a great and marvellous wonder. And Peter seeing a great dog bound with a strong chain, went to him and loosed him, and when he was loosed the dog received a man's voice and said unto Peter: What dost thou bid me to do, thou servant of the unspeakable and living God? Peter said unto him: Go in and say unto Simon in the midst of his company: Peter saith unto thee, Come forth abroad, for thy sake am I come to Rome, thou wicked one and deceiver of simple souls. And immediately the dog ran and entered in, and rushed into the midst of them that were with Simon, and lifted up his forefeet and in a loud voice said: Thou Simon, Peter the servant of Christ who standeth at the door saith unto thee: Come forth abroad, for thy sake am I come to Rome, thou most wicked one and deceiver of simple souls. And when Simon heard it, and beheld the incredible sight, he lost the words wherewith he was deceiving them that stood by, and all of them were amazed. (The Acts of Peter, 9)
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#3
RE: Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
I agree that Atheism should be bottom up. I think the problem is that we often misidentify the bottom. There is certainly a historical precedent for it. There was a point when people assumed the world was flat, because why wouldn't they. It appears we may have done this again with the human mind. The idea that we obviously have free will because we appear to choose things. That our consciousness separates us from inanimate objects.

I agree that we can give things meaning and purpose. And we are limited only by our ability to not think about it too hard. But to me, I see little difference in creating a make believe God to get some perks that'd come along with such an idea, to believing 7 billion humans are all on one big team together, because we happened to be the same species.

Why don't you like to see suffering? I'd guess it's a combination of evolution and societal brainwashing? The thing with evolution, is that it is not an intelligent design. We know it's resulted in a bunch of stupid on top of not getting rid of other stupid stuff that is irrelevant from millions of years ago.

And this is where I'm curious to get other people's take on my thinking.

Take the dark. We are, by design, afraid of the dark because we don't see well which makes us prone to predators. Or thunder. Thunder warns of lightning and storms. Or heights. Because falling results in death. All these things, I think, are the default programming.

But we can look at those things objectively, recognize they are irrational, and easily overcome them. heights make me uncomfortable, but I don't let it keep me off roller coasters. I don't sleep with a night light. And if I'm inside, I don't worry about thunder.

So what happens when we start applying that thinking to stuff like empathy. I see a homeless guy suffering, and I feel bad. But what if I know I feel bad, because we were a pack animal back in the day, and it was just a way for us to protect the group so we could survive and propagate? Now that I know my future is no longer tied to that homeless guy's well-being, isn't caring about his suffering the same as being afraid of the dark?
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#4
RE: Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
(December 29, 2015 at 12:57 am)wallym Wrote: (First off, I'm saying nihilistic, but I don't know what it's really called.  Whatever it is I am.  Materialism is another one that seems to hit a lot of the notes)


I know the moral argument is a big one for Theists in attempting to expose inconsistencies in many Atheist belief systems.

But what do you have for the the Atheists who don't believe in meaning, or morals, or even free will.  I know during my time as a Catholic, I always tried to present the alternative to an existence of God as, rationally, a very undesirable reality.  The obvious flaw, which surprisingly went unchallenged (although Atheism hadn't caught on yet), was that being undesirable has no bearing on something being true or not.  So while I dumped God due to my perceiving it as goofy, I stuck by my guns so to speak, and more or less ended up where I said I should rationally end up.

So for those of us who skipped over humanism and went straight to believing it's all just a big evolutionary hoax, do you have arguments for those people that poke holes in their rationality?

(I'd be interested in non-theists take on poor reasoning as well)

The desirability being irrelevant is one thing, but I think that the even better argument is that Atheist actually make more moral individuals on the average. They have a lower divorce rates, lower crime rates, secular societies have far less war, etc. So whatever hypotheticals Christians and Muslims want to throw out as to Atheism meaning people have less morals, reality says it isn't true.
[Image: dcep7c.jpg]
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#5
RE: Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
(December 29, 2015 at 2:24 pm)CapnAwesome Wrote:
(December 29, 2015 at 12:57 am)wallym Wrote: (First off, I'm saying nihilistic, but I don't know what it's really called.  Whatever it is I am.  Materialism is another one that seems to hit a lot of the notes)


I know the moral argument is a big one for Theists in attempting to expose inconsistencies in many Atheist belief systems.

But what do you have for the the Atheists who don't believe in meaning, or morals, or even free will.  I know during my time as a Catholic, I always tried to present the alternative to an existence of God as, rationally, a very undesirable reality.  The obvious flaw, which surprisingly went unchallenged (although Atheism hadn't caught on yet), was that being undesirable has no bearing on something being true or not.  So while I dumped God due to my perceiving it as goofy, I stuck by my guns so to speak, and more or less ended up where I said I should rationally end up.

So for those of us who skipped over humanism and went straight to believing it's all just a big evolutionary hoax, do you have arguments for those people that poke holes in their rationality?

(I'd be interested in non-theists take on poor reasoning as well)

The desirability being irrelevant is one thing, but I think that the even better argument is that Atheist actually make more moral individuals on the average. They have a lower divorce rates, lower crime rates, secular societies have far less war, etc. So whatever hypotheticals Christians and Muslims want to throw out as to Atheism meaning people have less morals, reality says it isn't true.

I'm not looking to make an argument against theism or the moral argument.  Theism is dumb.  I've moved on.  I'm looking to attack myself. 

My poorly stated goal was to ask theists how they argued against atheists who embodied the alternative in the moral argument.  The one's who say "I agree, no God = no morals/meaning/purpose, and since there is no God, I have no morals/meaning/purpose."  
----
I agree we should expect atheists to better people than theists in the circles we'd run in anyways. In advanced societies, the brainwashing is done.  We're all hammered with the golden rule our entire childhood, and see nothing but positive reinforcement of that idea from almost every source of influence during our developmental years.  Just unending positive feedback being associated with 'being good.'  And we'll now brainwash our own children in the same way. It's really quite similar to religion.  The difference being that societal pressure is more flexible, so as what is 'good' evolves, so does the behavior of people trying to be 'good.'  That's really the shortcoming of religion, I imagine.  It's too inflexible.  You can't just say "God was just kidding, gays are cool now."  Religion slowly disqualifies itself from individuals lives, until the majority of society disagrees with religion on what is 'good,' and eventually religion becomes what is 'bad', and then poof.  I think that's what we're seeing now in the US right now.

My question to the atheists would be:  If I recognize I've been conditioned all my life to believe I should be good, does it seem reasonable to toss out what I've been conditioned to believe, and start from scratch to form a more rational belief system? And could it be reasonable to conclude that 'good' as society dictates, and how I think I should reasonably behave are at odds? And maybe toss in a 'if so, why don't you? Or did you, and just happen to come to the same conclusion as society?"
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#6
RE: Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
(December 29, 2015 at 12:57 am)wallym Wrote: ..
But what do you have for the the Atheists who don't believe in meaning, or morals, or even free will.  I know during my time as a Catholic..

Atheists generally all believe in morals since they do exist in reality. We learn our morals from our parents and combine them with our innate "good for me, good for the herd" mentality. You didn't learn a god dammed thing about morality from the bible or your church, you learned it from your parents. All atheists had parents too.

We don't get our morals from a god book, theists only interpret the book's verses to coincide with the morals they were raised with.
Find the cure for Fundementia!
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#7
RE: Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
(December 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm)Brakeman Wrote:
(December 29, 2015 at 12:57 am)wallym Wrote: ..
But what do you have for the the Atheists who don't believe in meaning, or morals, or even free will.  I know during my time as a Catholic..

Atheists generally all believe in morals since they do exist in reality. We learn our morals from our parents and combine them with our innate "good for me, good for the herd" mentality. You didn't learn a god dammed thing about morality from the bible or your church, you learned it from your parents. All atheists had parents too.

We don't get our morals from a god book, theists only interpret the book's verses to coincide with the morals they were raised with.

I don't believe in morality.  And I don't believe in the "Good for me, good for the herd" mentality. To me, they are delusions. Or maybe a better phrase would be a misrepresentation of reality.
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#8
RE: Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
(December 29, 2015 at 11:48 am)Jehanne Wrote: In my opinion, atheism is a bottom-up philosophy as opposed to a top-down one.  The fact that where I am sitting on the Earth right now, spending my days & nights going around in a circle at approximately 750 mph is not something that was intuitively obvious to people for millennia on end.  After all, who would have thought of something like that?  And, yet, you can fit into a typical high school gym the number of individuals who would vehemently deny such a proposition and who would be willing to make a public stand for their ideas.  Ditto for consciousness, free will, "something from nothing," etc., not being "top down" conclusions but "button up" ones, having been formulated by decades of scientific evidence and thought.  I have spent my whole life of nearly 50 years open to the existence of god, and yet, god does not speak to me at all, and yet, theists would have me believe that I will encounter him/her/it once I am dead, as if death is an "experience" which, finally, brings one into a direct encounter with the divine.  However, with the range of "after death" possibilities (with annihilation being the most likely one), I don't see why I should favor one alternative (say, heaven/hell) over another (say, reincarnation) over yet another, ad infinitum.

Life has meaning and purpose because we choose to give it meaning and purpose, and, why not?  The alternatives are utter chaos; if I see a human or non-human animal suffering, I do whatever I can to help that individual.  I don't like to suffer and I don't like seeing others suffer as well, which is why we, as an organized society, mandate that 911 operators be prepared to work nights, weekends and holidays.  I don't see any reason to appeal to some sort of "high power" to justify my dislike of suffering; on the other hand, there are folks who like suffering, either themselves or watching it being inflicted on others or even inflicting such suffering themselves; we refer to such individuals as being psychos.

NO it is not a "philosophy"....... There are atheist Jews, atheist Buddhists, there are atheist who vote Republican and Libertarian and Liberal. Some atheists think "all this" being the universe is a giant living thing. I find that idea as hokey as any standard ancient woo with a human like super power. 

"Atheist" merely means "off" on god claims. Outside that our "worldviews" can be and are diverse. 

Now, if you want to argue the averages of atheists being more accepting of science, that is a better argument, but even then atheists can and do have their own woo claims as well. We don't agree on all things all the time, so it is improper to attach an "ism" to the word "atheist" or call it a "philosophy". Atheists can have philosophies, but the word itself is not an all encompassing philosophy.

Now science being a method, proves that consciousness in biological life is an emergent property and not a starting point and that life is finite. 

But that is not atheism, because like I said, Buddhists have their own superstitions and would call themselves atheists, and pantheists as well do not believe in a god, but believe "all this" is part of a bigger awareness. All can be atheists with completely different philosophies.
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#9
RE: Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
(December 29, 2015 at 5:16 pm)wallym Wrote:
(December 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm)Brakeman Wrote: Atheists generally all believe in morals since they do exist in reality. We learn our morals from our parents and combine them with our innate "good for me, good for the herd" mentality. You didn't learn a god dammed thing about morality from the bible or your church, you learned it from your parents. All atheists had parents too.

We don't get our morals from a god book, theists only interpret the book's verses to coincide with the morals they were raised with.

I don't believe in morality.  And I don't believe in the "Good for me, good for the herd" mentality.  To me, they are delusions.  Or maybe a better phrase would be a misrepresentation of reality.
Are you speaking against objective vs subjective morality or are you actually saying that humans don't make choices while considering consequences to others?
Find the cure for Fundementia!
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#10
RE: Christians take on the more nihilistic atheists
Distinction between objective morality and subjective needs to be made...
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